San Francisco Giants: 5500 Words on the 2019 MLB Draft
6th round (176th overall): Colegio Marista HS (PR) SS Dilan Rosario—Slot: $281,800
7th round (206th overall): UC Santa Barbara OF Armani Smith—Slot: $220,200
8th round (236th overall): Texas Tech RHP Caleb Kilian—Slot: $176,300
9th round (266th overall): Yale SS Simon Whiteman—Slot: $155,300
10th round (296th overall): San Diego SS Jeff Houghtby—Slot: $145,700
Rosario and Smith are two opposite prospects, but they also may be my two favorite Day 2 picks by the San Francisco Giants. Rosario is a soft-hitting glove-first shortstop committed to the University of Southern California, while Smith is a promising bopper with incredible raw power.
It’s often very difficult to project high school shortstops to stick at the position, but Rosario is considered one of the best bets of the high school class. Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo called him “the most polished P.R. prospect in the class.” Rosario has shown quick hands at the plate but currently lacks the strength to drive the ball.
Rosario is young for the class. He won’t turn 18 until June 16th and has room to bulk up, which could give him enough power to be a productive everyday player.
No one has ever questioned Armani Smith’s power. C.C. Sabathia’s nephew shares his uncle’s powerful frame. When the 6’4″, 215-pound outfielder connects, the ball goes a long way. According to Baseball America, some scouts are willing to max out the scale and give Smith a rare 80-grade raw power.
In my immediate reactions to their Day 2 picks Rosario was my favorite pick of the day. The more research I do, the more I like Smith. A big part of that is how much he reminds me of top pick Hunter Bishop.
Smith played shortstop at California powerhouse De La Salle, but he’s moved around the diamond in college and currently is a fringe right fielder who will probably have to move to left.
Like Bishop, Smith struggled in his first two seasons in college, unable to even slug .400. Before this season, he worked with UCSB associate head coach Donegal Fergus on a new swing to maximize his launch angle.
Smith saw immense improvements, knocking 11 home runs alongside a .325/.395/.636 line in the pitching-oriented Big West Conference. Furthermore, even with the increased power, his strikeout rate was a manageable 15 percent.
Smith and Rosario both are very likely to sign and there’s no reason to believe their bonuses will differ much from slot.
The first pitcher the Giants selected was Texas Tech starter Caleb Kilian. His numbers at Texas Tech aren’t overly impressive (13 GS, 71.2 IP, 7.3 K/9, 2.0 BB/9), but Giants brass hope his command will allow him to become a back-of-the-rotation starter.
At this point in the draft, acquiring anyone able to contribute at the big league level is a boon, and Kilian was probably the safest starter still available.
The 6’4” righty moved into the Texas Tech rotation last season after the team was depleted by injuries. After holding his own to close the season, he’s been in the rotation ever since.
His low-90s fastball is quite straight, but he knows how to work it off 50-grade curveballs and changeups. Pitchability is Kilian’s game and as a 22-year-old redshirt junior, he’ll likely start his pro career at High-A in 2020.
Normally, I’d expect a junior to receive a slot bonus, but as a redshirt-junior, it’s difficult to know if Kilian may be more tempted to take senior-level money to get turn pro.
Whiteman and Houghtby are both senior sign shortstops that will likely receive significantly below-slot signing bonuses that will be reallocated to other picks, most notably 11th-round pick Trevor McDonald.
Whiteman’s calling card is his speed. As a senior at Yale, the Rhodes Scholarship nominee (with a 3.97 GPA in chemical engineering) was a perfect 34-for-34 on stolen base attempts. He also consistently put the ball in play while showing the defensive potential to stick at shortstop.
Houghtby is a great defensive shortstop who didn’t hit much over his first three seasons at San Diego. As a senior, he tallied a career-high 12 doubles and five home runs while posting a .341/.438/.512 batting line and recording more walks (23) than strikeouts (21). His glove puts less pressure on his bat, but he will need to hold onto some of those senior year improvements to become a relevant prospect.